The 10 Best LED Worklights
10. Caterpillar Pocket
- comes in yellow or camo
- moisture-resistant plastic body
- light does not project very far
|Rating||4.4 / 5.0|
9. Bayco BA-2116
- weighs just 1 lb for easy handling
- versatile 6-foot cord
- tends to get rather hot
|Rating||4.1 / 5.0|
8. EverBrite 2-Piece
- equipped with hooks and magnets
- ideal for camping and hiking
- not as bright as some other options
|Rating||4.9 / 5.0|
7. PowerSmith Dual-Head
- weather-resistant aluminum housing
- simple to tilt up and down
- upper brackets are fairly weak
|Rating||4.3 / 5.0|
6. Ryobi P781
- output of 330 lumens
- stylish compact design
- high and low power modes
|Rating||4.2 / 5.0|
5. Hallomall Spotlight
- totally waterproof construction
- stays cool to the touch
- lamp rotates 360 degrees
|Rating||4.6 / 5.0|
4. Toolsand Flood
- strong nylon housing to resist drops
- easy push-button battery replacement
- backed by a 5-year warranty
|Rating||4.9 / 5.0|
3. Neiko Cordless
- rugged polycarbonate lens
- hanging hook swivels 360 degrees
- has a low battery indicator
|Rating||4.8 / 5.0|
2. Tacklife LWL3B
- thin body for simple storage
- handy knobs for adjusting the angle
- setup is fast and easy
|Rating||4.8 / 5.0|
1. Milwaukee Trueview
- runs on battery or ac cord
- has 3 brightness settings
- generates a neutral white light
|Rating||4.7 / 5.0|
Shining Light On the Situation: The LED Worklight
Prior to the advent of the electric light in the 19th century, once the sun had set, humans had but two options when it came to their work. They could simply stop working for the day and await the following sunrise, or they could continue their efforts by the flickering light of a candle, torch, or burning lamp.
The 20th century saw ever-greater advancements in lightbulb miniaturization, durability, and in potency of their output. And starting in the 1950s, the illumination technology that is now a part of our everyday lives first began to enjoy practical development. The first commercial LEDs produced relatively faint light suitable for use in indicator lamps such as might be found on the instrument panel of a vehicle or on a household appliance. Most early LEDs produced only red light.
Over the second half of the 1900s, LED technology advanced rapidly, and soon these diminutive devices were capable of producing not only a vast array of colors of light, but enough illumination to outclass many other types of bulb, including the traditional mainstay, the incandescent light.
And not only are LED lights powerful, but they are remarkably efficient as well, consuming much less electricity than other lights that produce comparable illumination. They also produce much less heat than other lights, making them ideal for use in close proximity to people. Thus the ascendant popularity of the LED worklight. With so many viable options now available in this category, it should be easy to find a light source that suits your working needs, no sunlight or torchlight required.
The most basic consideration to be made when choosing the right LED light for your purposes is the simple output volume you need in order to get your work done, or in other words, the brightness. If a light is not bright enough for your workspace, it's not adequate to meet your needs no matter what other features it offers. So first and foremost, you must consider lumen output. (See below for more information on output.)
Next consider the mounting or anchoring system a worklight uses. Many options come with tall stands that can help direct light about a workspace or shine down into the hood of a car, while others are designed to perch on the ground and are stable and resilient even when jostled. Still other LED lights feature powerful magnets that allow them to be placed on pipes, on a vehicle's body, and so forth.
Finally, consider the power source an LED light uses. For the campsite or the worker whose occupation brings him out into the woods or to the roadside, a battery-powered unit is a must have. For the construction professional, an AC-powered device might make much more sense, as it will never run out of energy.
A Few Words On Properties of Light
If you are committed to purchasing the right LED light for illuminating your work or hobbies, you need to have at least a rudimentary understanding of a few key aspects of illumination.
First and foremost, the term LED is an acronym for Light Emitting Diode. These elegantly simple semiconductor devices work by emitting photons, the basic light particle, when the right electrical charge is passed between the two components of a P-N junction. Light is, effectively, the welcome byproduct of a controlled electrical reaction.
The basic unit of measuring the brightness of a light is the lumen. Simply stated, the more lumens a light produces, the brighter that light is. As most of us remain more familiar with the traditional output ratings associated with incandescent bulbs, a quick comparison is warranted. The brightness of a standard 100-watt bulb is matched by LEDs producing around 1,600 lumens. A 75-watt bulb creates about 1,100 lumens, and a 40-watt bulb some 450 lumens.
As many LED work lights produce as much as 5,000 lumen outputs, suitable for replacing multiple large incandescent lightbulbs, their merit as effective and efficient is beyond doubt. But the type of light LEDs produce is also different than many other bulbs, and that too demands a bit of explanation.
Light color temperature is typically measured in degrees on the Kelvin scale, which abbreviated as K. Softer, "warmer" light that gives off a yellow-orange glow is rated lower on the scale, in the 2000K to 3000K range. Brighter, "cole" light is usually somewhere between 4500 and 6500K. Lights with a higher color temperature can seem harsh to some eyes, but in fact they come closer to approximating the color of sunlight, which is rated at about 5800K. So an LED light with a high lumen output and a high Kelvin rating is often the best bet for productive work after sunset.
A Bright Idea: Using LED Lights Safely
LED lighting does not get nearly as hot as more traditional illumination sources including standard incandescent and halogen bulbs. Indeed LEDs are celebrated for how cool they stay, with said cooling largely provided by a heat sink built into the base of the bulb. But don't think that LEDs won't warm up at all, for indeed they will.
An intense worklight with a battery of LEDs shining in close proximity will get too hot to safely touch and can produce a fire hazard under certain circumstances. These issues are minor if understood, but potentially serious if not considered. And of course as with any electrical device, considerable caution must be used when an LED worklight is anywhere near water.
Beyond the dangers of a burn or a fire, the very brightness for which LEDs are celebrated is also a potential danger: extremely bright light can cause severe damage to the eyes, both with limited acute exposure and with chronic exposure. Always make sure to position worklights where they will not shine into your eyes even in a tangential direction.
The light source should be behind you, not to one side. And position a worklight as far away from your actual area of work as possible while still allowing for suitable illumination; the same LEDs that are harmless when viewed from across a room might be hazardous when glanced at from arm's length.